According to the semantic view of computation, computations cannot be individuated without invoking semantic properties. A traditional argument for the semantic view is what we shall refer to as the argument from the cognitive science practice. In its general form, this argument rests on the idea that, since cognitive scientists describe computations (in explanations and theories) in semantic terms, computations are individuated semantically. Although commonly invoked in the computational literature, the argument from the cognitive science practice has never been discussed in detail. In this paper, we shall provide a critical reconstruction of this argument and an extensive analysis of its prospects, taking into account some ways of defending it that have never been explored so far. We shall argue that explanatory considerations support at best a weak version of the argument from the cognitive science practice, according to which semantic properties concur with formal syntactic properties in individuating computations in cognitive science, but not a strong version, according to which computation individuation in cognitive science is semantic as opposed to formal syntactic.

(2022). The semantic view of computation and the argument from the cognitive science practice [journal article - articolo]. In SYNTHESE. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10446/234440

The semantic view of computation and the argument from the cognitive science practice

Paternoster, Alfredo
2022-01-01

Abstract

According to the semantic view of computation, computations cannot be individuated without invoking semantic properties. A traditional argument for the semantic view is what we shall refer to as the argument from the cognitive science practice. In its general form, this argument rests on the idea that, since cognitive scientists describe computations (in explanations and theories) in semantic terms, computations are individuated semantically. Although commonly invoked in the computational literature, the argument from the cognitive science practice has never been discussed in detail. In this paper, we shall provide a critical reconstruction of this argument and an extensive analysis of its prospects, taking into account some ways of defending it that have never been explored so far. We shall argue that explanatory considerations support at best a weak version of the argument from the cognitive science practice, according to which semantic properties concur with formal syntactic properties in individuating computations in cognitive science, but not a strong version, according to which computation individuation in cognitive science is semantic as opposed to formal syntactic.
articolo
Calzavarini, Fabrizio; Paternoster, Alfredo
(2022). The semantic view of computation and the argument from the cognitive science practice [journal article - articolo]. In SYNTHESE. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10446/234440
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